Mercedes says that it will “maintain scepticism” over its position in the pecking order for the 2023 Formula 1 campaign following a difficult 2022 season.
The Brackley-based squad endured its most challenging year of the turbo-hybrid era in 2022, ending the season third in the Constructors’ Championship.
It marked the first time since 2013 that it failed to conclude a season with a title in hand, as Red Bull and Max Verstappen cruised to their respective championships.
Mercedes spent much of the year attempting to understand the issues that lay within the W13 car, which was designed amid the introduction of new technical regulations.
It gradually improved its pace as the season wore on, taking its only victory of the year at the penultimate round in Brazil.
However, its form at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw it once again unable to compete against Red Bull and Ferrari.
As a result, Mercedes’ Technical Director Mike Elliott says that the team is not anticipating that it will return to the head of the pack for the start of the 2023 season.
“I think the interesting thing is how we move forward from here and I think we’ve got to maintain that scepticism and be honest with ourselves that we were behind at the end of the year,” he said.
“While I think that we’ve made good progress through the year and I am really pleased with the culture I have seen, I am really pleased with the attitude, putting every effort into moving us forward, we will only see the return on that next year.”
Mercedes’ form at the beginning of the year came as a surprise to some, given the pace it displayed across the last several seasons.
As it looks to return to the front of the competition, team boss Toto Wolff insists that there is no sense of entitlement that it deserves race-winning pace.
“For me the perspective or the planning is not about the short-term, it’s not about a race, even a season or two or five,” Wolff said.
“It’s about I would like this team to constantly develop to be chasing for race victories and championships every single year but not taking it for granted, not having any sense of entitlement and if I hear us talking it almost sounds like the complete disaster of all seasons.
“It felt like it and I think this is the right feeling. But we finished third in the Constructors’ Championship, we were very close to Ferrari, we won a race, we had 10 plus podiums.
“Whatever happens at the beginning of next season it’s going to be another building block for the success of this team. We are trying to be as transparent as we can.”
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